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White House Opioid Commission Releases Draft Report

August 2, 2017 - The President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, chaired by Governor Chris Christie, recently released its interim report of recommendations to the White House on combatting the opioid crisis, with the final report to be released in October. The main recommendation of the Commission is for President Trump to declare a national emergency to “empower [the] cabinet to take bold steps and . . . force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life.”

As summarized in an article in The Atlantic, other recommendations include “changes to law enforcement, such as arming all police officers with naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses, and improving the detection of fentanyl at the border. Because most heroin addicts start with prescription painkillers, [Commission members] recommend improving training on painkiller prescribing for doctors and forcing state prescription-tracking programs to share their information by July 2018. . . . [T]he report urges the closing of several loopholes around medication-assisted recovery treatment for addicts. The report recommends that states be granted waivers to allow federal Medicaid funds to reimburse treatment in facilities with more than 16 beds, and that all treatment facilities offer medication-assisted treatment, such as buprenorphine. . . . Regulators, they write, should fine health plans that violate mental-health parity laws, meaning they illegally restrict mental-health or addiction benefits to a greater degree than physical health benefits. Finally, the commission suggests relaxing medical privacy laws so that the families of addicted patients can get updates on their relative’s medical status.”

  

 

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